Real Estate

The top 5 upgrades that will improve the value of your property


Thinking of selling your cottage or cabin? Renovating before you put it on the market can make a massive difference in the sale price.

But before you start pulling out the paint swatches, Sage Real Estate representative Katherine Perry suggests strategically planning your upgrades. “Many people invest too much money in the wrong places and end up losing money when they sell,” she says.

To make your investment worthwhile, here are the top five upgrades to consider:

1. Structural upgrades

Unlike hot urban housing markets, buyers in cottage country are more likely to take their time—which includes getting a thorough house inspection. If your deck is rotting, your septic system is ancient, or your roof needs to be re-shingled, these renovations should be prioritized.

“Aesthetic upgrades are always a bonus; people love what looks good. However, structural problems can be dangerous, expensive to fix, and never sit well with buyers. These upgrades should always be made first,” says Perry.

Don’t forget to seek out the help of professionals, who can advise you on permits and building codes.

2. Rip up your carpet

Design preferences are subjective, which is why Perry advises choosing neutral tones throughout your cottage. “This way, potential buyers can see themselves and their own decor in the cottage without being distracted by yours,” she says.

However, ripping up carpet is one visual change that has been proven to increase the value of cottages. For an updated look, choose a hardwood, laminate, or tile. Eco-materials such as bamboo and cork are also popular options.

3. Renovate your kitchen

If you plan on putting your home on the market within the next five years, Perry recommends investing 10 to 15 percent of the value of your home into the kitchen. Start by replacing any old appliances; new energy efficient models will appeal to buyers who are looking to save on energy costs.

4. Update your bathroom

Your bathroom should be clean, functional, and within the price point of other cottages within your neighbourhood. In addition to a fresh coat of paint, consider installing new faucets and hardware. If you plan on installing a new toilet or shower, opt for low-flow versions, which will appeal to eco-conscious buyers.

The bathroom is also a good area to invest if you have a bit of extra money in the budget. “Small luxurious touches like a soaker tub and heated flooring can go a long way to impress potential buyers,” says Perry. (Needless to say, if you’re still relying on an outhouse, now might be the time to make the leap to indoor plumbing.)

5. Don’t forget about curb appeal

When it comes to cottage properties, it’s not just what’s on the inside that counts. Attractive landscaping can mean the difference between selling your cottage for asking price, and having it sit on the market for months.

“Buyers are interested in the whole property,” says Perry. “A cottage with cut grass, bright plants, and a well maintained waterfront invites potential buyers to view the rest of the property.”